Schooling and educational activities are the dominant
activity for any school age child. For an internationally adopted
child it is an added stressor and an occupation that may lead
to miscommunications with peers, the feeling of being an outsider
and misfit. It may simply be too much to handle. Thus, the right
school placement that would address the educational and social
needs of a child without exacerbating the issues stemming from
a late start under very unfavorable circumstances is crucial.
Inappropriate school placement may become the key factor in derailing
the entire life of the adoptive family. In most cases, an initial
assessment for the school placement and services is sufficient,
but there are cases when public education is no longer an option,
and parents have to look for a private specialized day school
or residential treatment center (RTC) for their child.
At the BGCenter we envision a specific model of
cooperation between Treatment Centers, Schools, and Families,
working together to rehabilitate internationally adopted post-institutionalized
children with a complex childhood trauma as a three level process,
which takes place concurrently on all three levels, but the accent
(the main level for a specific child) is shifting sequentially
and chronologically. The framework for this model is rooted in
theories and practices we were involved with, researched and actually
implemented during 3 decades; it is based on 2 major requirements:
1. The child has to be involved in a purposeful and socially meaningful
work together with the leading adults and peers. 2. In the process
of these joint activities moderated by adults, the appropriate
peer relations in the group have to be modeled, formed, and practiced.
Here is the description of the 3 levels of the remedial
Level 1 (ages
4-12; treatment center-based): Initial mind/body regulatory
restoration/rehabilitation to be able self regulate basic psychological
functions (what we call between us "OT/PT repair").
That is where EMDR therapy, biofeedback, sensory integration
approach, proper nutrition, PT/OT therapy and sports are the
focal point and the principal approach to child's remediation.
Level 2 (ages 7-16 school-based):
Academic remediation and peer socialization are leading in pre-adolescent
and adolescent ages. The goal is to maintain progress in the
academic achievement and social interactions: these must not
be blocked, impaired, or distorted in order to prevent negative
self- and peer- perception that affects current and future functioning
of the child. The internationally adopted children have to be
specifically trained in maintaining positive peer group relations.
Participation in "collective" shared and socially
meaningful activities under the leadership of a competent and
dedicated adult to facilitate this socialization is a must on
all levels, but it becomes especially important at level 2.
Level 3 (ages 13-21
family-based): Transitioning to adulthood - the goal is
the identification of the areas of personal strength; the development
and reinforcement of skills and special gifts applicable to
future job training, learning and independent living. Reinforcement
of emotional self-regulation and self-confidence is the core.
Working with adoptive families and children of different
ages, we can recommend several institutions which can address
certain needs of international adoptees better than others and
where a lot of former BGCenter patients find necessary support
We intend to continue the list and we begin with
just a few of them below: